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Sunday, July 16, 2006

T-minus 1: The Bethel Experience

Do you know how it feels when you only have a few hours before you leave on a long trip? The "to do before I go" list keeps growing longer and longer as the hours get shorter and shorter. I'm feeling that in a big way today. The lawn needs mowed. The suitcase needs packed. Laundry needs to be done. Details at work need to be wrapped up. Calls need to be returned. Errands need to be run. I'll quit typing out my list before I acquire some sort of migraine.

You may be asking by now, "Why on earth are you taking time to type this post?" Well, I think sometimes we need to remember our feelings in the middle of tough times, not just when we look back. Today I am realizing why this "pre-trip" stress isn't growing too great; because honestly I feel pretty good. Why? Well, I know that at home I have good neighbors and kind friends who will watch the house, check the mail, and keep things in order. At work, I have awesome co-workers who can do the job better than I can. Sometimes I just need to let go (or go away :-) ) in order to give them time and space to really shine. I know they'll excel and the church will benefit from their leadership. And I know that at my side I have a close, caring partner who will help me make sure I don't forget anything important. I couldn't do things like this without her- my wife.

This brings me to my point, or perhaps more accurately my prayer. I wish for each of you a circle of friends and a community on whom you can depend and from whom you can draw real strength. If you have this network around you, be sure to thank them and express as often as you can your appreciation for them. If you look around yourself and feel that this support is not strong for you, let me encourage you; do whatever you can to develop it. Invest in the people around you and commit yourself to the most important thing in this world: our relationships. Time spent growing closer to others is always time well spent, and the investment will be returned. It's not that we develop friendships for what they will bring us, but there certainly is a benefit to be had. We are not meant to live in isolation, but in community.

And in all things at all times, may you know the friend who is closer than a brother. May the Prince of peace surround you this week and always.

Journey on, friends!

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